DOCK 3.7 tutorial based on Webinar 2017/06/28

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This tuturial expands on a webinar presentation to the SBGrid [1]

Scenario 1:

Use docking to predicted how Erlotinib (an approved drug) binds to the Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor

Search for Your Molecule in ZINC, Get Files for Docking from ZINC

Get the link from the zinc webpage and us wget to download:


Put the path of the downloaded database into the split database index file (this file usually contain many db2 file):

ls /path/tutorial_for_webinar/dock3.7/209168955.db2.gz > ligands.sdi

Get the receptor structure from the PDB website

wget --no-check-certificate
Break Xtal into Receptor and Ligand Files

You may use a program like Chimera for this

Receptor file must be called: rec.pdb

Ligand file: xtal-lig.pdb

What if the crystal does not have a ligand:

Place atoms in the site were you want to dock. One way is to run sphgen and selecting spheres near residues in the site convert to pdb

Make the recptor file (remove alternative side chains):

grep "^ATOM" 1M17.pdb | grep -v ^................B > rec.pdb

Make ligand file:

grep AQ4 1M17.pdb | sed -e 's/HETATM/ATOM  /g' > xtal-lig.pdb

Run blastermaster: input rec.pdb, xtal-lig.pdb and makes all receptor file need for docking.

python $DOCKBASE/proteins/blastermaster/ --addhOptions=" -HIS -FLIPs "  -v

This command may take several minutes to run.

Here are the files that are produce:

 -rw-r--r--. 1 tbalius bks 3163 Jun 17 12:27 INDOCK
 total 30388
 -rw-r--r--. 1 tbalius bks  1206051 Jun 17 12:27 ligand.desolv.heavy
 -rw-r--r--. 1 tbalius bks  1206051 Jun 17 12:27 ligand.desolv.hydrogen
 -rw-r--r--. 1 tbalius bks     3376 Jun 17 12:27 matching_spheres.sph
 -rw-r--r--. 1 tbalius bks   908086 Jun 17 12:27 trim.electrostatics.phi
 -rw-r--r--. 1 tbalius bks  3121095 Jun 17 12:27 vdw.bmp
 -rw-r--r--. 1 tbalius bks     1653 Jun 17 12:27 vdw.parms.amb.mindock
 -rw-r--r--. 1 tbalius bks 24660016 Jun 17 12:27 vdw.vdw

Modifying INDOCK File

The following parameter how much orienting to do:

 match_goal                    5000

Reduce 1000 if docking takes to long.

The following parameter specifies the number of poses to write out:

 number_save                   1
 number_write                  1

Consider writing out 100

Here are the minimization parameters:

 #                    MINIMIZATION
 minimize                      no
 sim_itmax                     500
 sim_trnstep                   0.2
 sim_rotstep                   5.0
 sim_need_to_restart           1.0
 sim_cnvrge                    0.1
 min_cut                       1.0e15
 iseed                         777

When these parameters are turned on, dock will minimize the 6 degrees of freedom (3 rotation, 3 translation) for the poses written out. All molecules written out will be minimized.

Make prepare docking directories.

$DOCKBASE/docking/setup/ ./ ligand ligand.sdi 500 count

Submit jobs to queue (we use SGE queuing system):


To analyze the results we need to combine the results and then get poses


It is also possible to run dock locally:


Output: OUTDOCK and test.mol2.gz

Visualize poses in Chimera with Viewdock

open molecules and poses with Viewdock
compare best pre-minimized poses before and after minimization

Pose with and without minimization: Energy -37.79 -> -38.54

compare best minimized poses with xtal ligand

Best pose out of the top 100 after min: Energy -41.31

Scenario 2:

Use docking to test enrichment capabilities of Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor using 12 ligands and DUD-E property matched decoys

Get Known Ligands for Docking

Find your target on Chembl.

Get Known Ligands for Docking

Obtain smiles from Chembl.

Generate Decoy Smiles File

Generate property matched decoys from DUD-E webserver.